Sharing with you today 36 easy kid-friendly make-ahead meals for busy moms that I scoured on the web to add to my collection of quick and easy recipes.
The school has already started last Monday (September 13) here in Spain and our 3-year-old (soon to be 4) is finally enrolled in P4 (mixed emotions here, but it’s for a separate post) and it means a busier schedule for me!
I’ll be driving him to school before 9 am and I need to pick him up at 4:30 with our almost 2-year-old in tow. So, it means that I have to step up with my meal planning game, an area that I am struggling a lot!
Thinking about what meals to make an hour or less before lunch or dinner makes me nervous! That’s why I want to meal plan, but unfortunately, I keep on failing at it. 🙁
36 Easy Kid-Friendly Make-Ahead Meals For Busy Moms
With the determination to improve my meal planning game, I scoured the net for kid-friendly make-ahead recipes that I can make easily and quickly.
In addition, the recipes have to be delicious, too, because no matter how easy and quickly I make them (which is a huge relief for a busy mom), my boys will not eat them if they’re not delicious!
Another nice thing about these family make-ahead meals is that they can be served for both lunch or dinner. Here are the kid-friendly make-ahead recipes that I gathered on the net that I divided into different categories for easy reading.
Kid-Friendly Make-Ahead Casserole Meals
Casserole meals for me are meals that can be prepared in the oven just using one dish, even if it doesn’t have casserole on its name.
I love casserole meals because it means fewer dishes to wash afterward! And it’s so convenient because I can assemble them in the morning or even a day before, then just take them an hour or so before lunch or dinner time.
1. Easy Peasy Bacon Tater Tot Casserole
This is such an easy family dinner! Quick to throw together in advance, it’s sure to please even the pickiest eater. Get the recipe for this delicious Easy Peasy Bacon Tater Tot Casserole from Mimosas and Motherhood.
2. Beef, Spinach, and Ricotta Lasagne
Make weeknight dinners super simple by prepping this yummy Beef, Spinach, and Ricotta Lasagne by Kid Gredients on the weekend. With spinach and ricotta, you don’t even need to make the white sauce, so it’s super quick and easy to make! Make, slice, freeze!
3. Sloppy Joe Casserole
This Sloppy Joe Casserole by The Cozy Cook has ground beef and noodles smothered in a cheesy Manwich sauce with corn and diced tomatoes. Just prepare the filling in ONE POT, transfer to a casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake!
4. Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
Crunchy bacon and ranch chicken come together in this comforting Chicken Tater Tot Casserole by Baking Beauty. Quick and easy, but so filling!
5. Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Flavorful beef, and saucy rice topped with plenty of cheese. This Stuffed Pepper Casserole by Baking Beauty is easier and faster to make than traditional stuffed peppers!
6. Easy Super Cheesy Baked Ziti
This delicious cheesy ricotta-filled baked ziti is the perfect cozy family recipe to make again and again. Packed full of Italian flavors, melted mozzarella, and creamy ricotta, this vegetarian Easy Super Cheesy Baked Ziti by On My Kids Plate makes the best quick and tasty family dinner. This recipe is also the perfect casserole-style dish to share and is one of my favorite ways to make baked pasta.
7. Chicken Divine Casserole (With Crunchy Cracker Topping)
This Chicken Divine Casserole from Little Home In The Making is an easy one-pan casserole with a crunchy cracker topping. This will be a family favorite!
8. Poppy Seed Chicken and Rice Casserole
This Poppy Seed Chicken and Rice Casserole by Little Home In The Making is an easy casserole recipe that uses leftover chicken and leftover rice to make an easy, picky eater friendly meal.
9. Easy Lasagna
This Easy Lasagna by Fluxing Well may be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen until baking. Serve it with crusty bread and a salad for a quick, easy, kid-friendly meal.
10. Easy Cheesy Baked Ravioli
Super cheesy baked ravioli made into a casserole dish of cozy comfort food everyone will cheer for. Made in thirty minutes and with only 4 ingredients, this Easy Cheesy Baked Ravioli by On My Kids Plate is a perfect fast and easy weeknight dinner.
11. Pizza Pasta Casserole
This easy, cheesy Pizza Pasta Casserole by In The Kids Kitchen is a quick and hearty weeknight dinner and a guaranteed hit with the whole family that is ready in 30 minutes or less!
Kid-Friendly Make-Ahead On The Go Meals
These make-ahead meals are perfect for the time when you don’t have the luxury of time to sit properly at the table.
Whether you and the kids are on your way to their extracurricular activities, or on a road trip, there’s no excuse not to enjoy delicious meals.
12. Filo Pastry Mini Quiches
Individual size, creamy and delicious egg-quiche, all wrapped up in filo pastry cases! Filo pastry mini quiches by A Mummy Too.
13. Rainbow Vegetable Tortilla Wrap
This quick, easy, no-cook and healthy Rainbow Vegetable Tortilla Wrap from Recipes From A Pantry is packed full of colorful veggies and that kiddoes, big and small, will love. It is perfect for school lunches, brunches, and when you are out and about.
14. Keto Cheese Wraps Recipe: Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps
If your family is into the keto diet, this easy, flavorful ranch chicken bacon wrap recipe is for you. These Keto Cheese Wraps Recipe: Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps by Wholesome Yum need just 6 ingredients + 5 minutes prep. It’s the best keto sandwich wrap recipe!
15. Texas Kolache Sausage Rolls
Texas Kolache Sausage Rolls, also known as Klobasnek, by Mom Foodie are sausage rolls wrapped in mildly sweet pastry. Kids love them and they are great on the go.
16. Ranch Cream Cheese Ham Roll-Ups
This will be a busy mom’s favorite back-to-school lunch solution because it’s super quick and easy to make. These tasty Ranch Cream Cheese Ham Roll-Ups by Recipes From A Pantry are totally kid-approved.
17. Egg Muffins
These egg muffins from Healthy Recipes 101 are an excellent treat stuffed with veggies. They feature potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and bacon and are baked to golden, delicious muffins.
18. Chicken Caesar Wrap
This Chicken Caesar Wrap from Little Sunny Kitchen is made of juicy, flavorful, and tender chicken, crisp lettuce, garlicky croutons, juicy cherry tomatoes, and creamy homemade Caesar dressing. The perfect quick lunch or dinner that you can serve to your family in just 15 minutes!
Kid-Friendly Make-Ahead Meatless Meals
My family is not vegan or vegetarian, but I love to collect meatless meals because I am trying to reduce our meat consumption and increase our vegetable intake.
I love eating vegetables, but my husband is a huge meat eater. To make sure that kids will eat and love veggies, I have to be strategic in incorporating veggies here and there. Though, they don’t mind a meatless meal as long as it’s delicious.
19. Toddler Mac and Cheese with Pears and Broccoli
This kid-friendly meal is probably the easiest pasta for toddlers and also works as some of the best pasta for babies. This Toddler Mac and Cheese with Pears and Broccoli by Bucket List Tummy is ready in 15 minutes, only uses one pot, and combines fruits and vegetables!
20. Vegan Meatloaf Muffins
Mini Meatloaves! These Vegan Meatloaf Muffins are the perfect kid-friendly dinner idea! These individual, healthy, meatless lentil loaves are full of plant-based protein and veggies. They’re gluten and allergy-free, too. Made in a muffin tin, they’re a freezer-friendly recipe and perfect for meal prepping!
21. Gluten-free & Vegan Chickpea Nuggets
An easy and healthy meatless nugget that the kids will love! Gluten-Free & Vegan Chickpea Nuggets by Strength And Sunshine are allergy-free, grain-free, and have a secret dose of veggies too! A deliciously fun plant-based recipe for little hands at lunchtime or dinner!
22. Baked Potato Mac-N-Cheese
This vegan-baked version of mac and cheese is incredibly delicious and creamy! Everyone is going to want seconds of this yummy Baked Potato Mac-n-Cheese by Plant-Based On A Budget!
23. Basmati Chana Pulao (Chickpea Rice)
This Basmati Chana Pulao (Chickpea Rice) by My Plantiful Cooking is fragrant and flavorful, yet super quick to make! Stores well and is freezable too.
24. Vegan Lasagna
This Vegan Lasagna by Plantbased On A Budget is the perfect hearty dish to prepare for a Sunday dinner. It is filled with delicious tofu ricotta, spinach, and veggies, and the best part is, it is super easy to prepare. It is bound to please the whole range of hungry friends and family coming over looking for that Sunday comfort.
25. Vegan Bolognese
All you need is 20 minutes and a love of Italian food with this Vegan Bolognese from Happy Kitchen. Gently simmered with classic Italian herbs, fragrant garlic, and roasted tempeh “meat” this is sure to become your favorite vegan spaghetti sauce!
26. Butter Tofu (Vegan Butter Chicken)
Made from whole ingredients and chock full of healthy veggies, this Instant Pot Butter Tofu curry recipe from Instant Veg can be made up to a day ahead of time. You can make it with chicken or use tofu to keep it plant-based.
27. Easy Vegan Alfredo Pasta
This Easy Vegan Alfredo Pasta by Rainbow Nourishments is finger-licking delicious and uses just a few common pantry staples. To make in advance, prepare the sauce and pasta separately and mix together to serve!
28. Vegetarian Chilli
This Vegetarian Chilli by Healthy Little Foodies is perfect for the whole family. It is packed with wholesome ingredients like vegetables, beans, and lentils and can easily be customized to suit taste.
29. Ultimate Vegan Chili
This Ultimate Vegan Chili by Vegan Huggs is thick, hearty, and meaty! It’s loaded with veggies, beans, warm spices, and savory meat crumbles. Just reduce the amount of chili or omit it totally for the kids (my kids love spicy food, though). It’ll keep your entire family cozy and satisfied during those chilly days, too! This recipe is easy to make, freezer-friendly, and perfect for potlucks!
30. Easy Tuna Pasta Recipe
This Easy Tuna Pasta Recipe by Spice and Life is tasty, ready in 30 minutes, and full of protein and fiber. It is a great choice for packed lunches, to reheat, or to turn into a quick pasta bake.
Kid-Friendly Make-Ahead Meals With Meat
Make-ahead recipes that are kid-friendly and with meat are a must in my quick and easy recipe collection because meat, along with fish, is our main source of protein.
31. Chicken Broccoli Braid
This easy-to-make cheesy Chicken Broccoli Braid by Yummy Addiction is packed with vegetables, cheese, and is perfect for using up leftover chicken. It’s great for lunch, brunch, or to serve a crowd at a party!
32. Sausage Rougaille
This tomato-based Mauritian sausage and tomato is an easy dinner that can be batch cooked and frozen. Sausage Rougaille by Mrs. Jones’s Kitchen will soon become a family favorite!
33. Italian Pasta Dinner
This Italian Pasta Salad by Dinner At The Zoo is loaded with meat, cheese, and vegetables, all tossed together with noodles in a homemade Italian dressing.
34. Crockpot Garlic BBQ Chicken
This tender Crock Pot Garlic BBQ Chicken by Jack Slobodian is delicious and perfect for those lazy days. It takes less than 5 minutes to prep and uses 3 ingredients, simply set it and forget it. Crockpot Garlic BBQ Chicken recipe
35. Turkey Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
This tender Turkey Meatballs In Tomato Sauce by Healthy Little Foodies is delicious with spaghetti noodles, zucchini noodles, mashed potatoes, bread, even stuffed into a sandwich.
36. Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
Instant Pot Sloppy Joes from Binky’s Culinary Carnival are so easy and so much better than the stuff you buy in a can! Make it in your IP or stovetop!
What To Serve With Kid-Friendly Make-Ahead Meals?
Most of these family make-ahead meals are already complete on their own, especially the casserole meals!
The other recipes need accompaniment to make it complete. You can serve them with rice, potatoes, bread, quinoa, hummus, vegetables, etc. The possibilities are endless!
In our home, rice and hummus are the favorite accompaniment of my boys.
And for dessert, they eat homemade yogurt with homemade lemon marmalade almost everyday. I also make sure to make homemade Spanish natillas and homemade petit suisse once in a while for variation. No one is complaining about eating homemade yogurt everyday, though.
Now that I have a list of quick and easy kid-friendly make-ahead meals, the next goal is to try them one by one to determine which ones will become the family’s favorites.
The family’s favorites mean that the meals are husband and kids approved! Every recipe that passes the quality control will be part of the recipes for keeps collection.
How about you? Do you have make-ahead meals that are kid-friendly, easy, and quick to make? Please feel free to share them in the comment section below.